It takes real motivation, dedication, and preparation to run outdoors during the cold winter months. But if you’re set on outdoor winter running, don’t worry! It is possible, especially if you follow these tips for running outdoors in winter.
Whenever you exercise or go for a run, it’s important to warm up, and this step is particularly important in winter. Warming up your muscles before a jog stretches them out and prepares them for action, so you’ll be less stiff than if you just started running immediately. Warming up will also raise your body temperature, helping you to acclimate to the cold weather once you get outside, and it will reduce your chance of injury during exercise.
To stay warm on a winter run, you need to know how to dress. Don’t be fooled—it’s not as simple as donning your bulky winter coat. For maximum warmth, wear a sweat-wicking, thermal base layer followed by an insulating layer, like a fleece jacket. Top those two layers off with a windproof, waterproof outer coat or jacket to protect you from the weather. Protect your head, hands, and feet from the cold with warm winter accessories. In terms of shoes, a quality, well-fitting pair of running shoes should be fine. If it’s particularly slippery or your feet need some extra protection, try a pair of trail shoes or winter running spikes.
Plan Your Route Strategically
In winter, when the weather is chilly and can become even more brutal at any given moment, be sure to plan your route strategically. Run in areas that you know will be less slippery than others. If you’re taking a long run, try looping around your neighborhood several times rather than running far away from your house and back. This will allow you to quickly head back home if the cold becomes unbearable or the weather turns worse.
Monitor the Weather
Before you head out for your run, always check the weather. Determine how cold it is and what you will need to wear to keep warm. Find out whether it will be snowing or windy, and if so, wear an outer layer that will protect you from those elements. While outdoor running is possible in extreme cold, performance begins to decrease when the temperature hits 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the temperature dips down into the negative digits, you run the risk of getting frostbite if outdoors too long. If it becomes too cold, you may want to consider moving your workout inside for those days.
If you follow these tips for running outdoors in winter weather, you’ll be able to stay safe, warm, and in good shape all season long, despite the cold.